• Naomi Head

5 short story collections to read this summer

Originally published July 13 2019 by Time Out Beijing

Need something to read lounging by the pool? Here's our top picks this season

Whether you're commuting on the subway, going to the beach, or sitting by one of the city's outdoor pools, let these books take you out of the hot, humid Beijing streets and transport you to new worlds.

The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu

Best known for The Three Body Problem, this collection of short stories from Chinese Sci-fi author Cixin Liu’s does not disappoint. With several intertwined narratives contained within the pages of this book, Liu examines the limits of human endurance and pushes past the breaking point of the human spirit. With tales of micro-humanity, men communing with aliens and the story that inspired the Chinese block buster hit of the same name, The Wandering Earth is perfect for anyone looking for an out of this world adventure.

Men Without Women: Stories by Haruki Murakami

Globally recognised and beloved writer Haruki Murakami returns with this collection of short stories about modern manhood and what it means to live in the face of solitude. In this book, Murakami uses his wit and humour to delicately explore the human condition with stories about vanishing cats and broken hearts.

The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu

Short story writer and Time Out Beijing’s long-time favourite Ken Liu’s collection features 15 stories from the author’s 100 strong body of work. From The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary to The Paper Menagerie, Liu has curated a book that demonstrates his writing prowess and establishes why he is so highly decorated.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell

From spirits in jam jars to coffin hotels, this book of modern fairy tales will take you into some outrageous and sometimes haunting adventures. You certainly will be too engrossed to be bothered by the summer scorch.

Granta 147: 40th Birthday Special

This one is a little bit of a cheat, Granta releases an anthology collection four times a year. A compilation of photo essays, poetry, short stories and critical pieces surrounding themes from medicine to betrayal, work to aliens. In the latest issue, Granta celebrates its 40th anniversary, showcasing some of the best writing featured over the past four decades. With writing from Gabriel García Márquez, John Berger and Angela Carter, this book is also quite a collectors' item.

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